nice-tapes (a norns mod for customised tape names)


A norns mod for more descriptive tape names.


This project was born from the frustration of forgetting what’s on my tapes but being too lazy to label them before recording.
When the mods feature got released I immediately wanted to try and hack the tape naming functionality but was lacking the chops to inject modified core scripts. I recently went through the wonderful norns studies and norns-example-mod and decided it was time to tackle this project.

I’m always amazed by all the ridiculously great tools/music/art/knowledge people kindly share on llllllll. This is my modest way to give back to this loving and caring community :rainbow:

The code is probably quite bad as it’s my first script and it was rather empirically built.
Feel free to give me feedback if you think some bits need refactoring/redesigning.
While I haven’t encountered anything problematic, I consider this a beta release until it has been used more thoroughly.





nice-tapes will also be available from maiden’s catalog soon.

More info about mods in general can be found in the docs.


Head to SYSTEM > MODS then select nice-tapes and turn E2 until you
see a + sign.
Restart your norns and you’re ready to configure your naming convention.


Access the menu by going back to the mods page, selecting nice-tapes and
pressing K3.

You can choose different descriptors that will be added to your tape file names,
next time you save a tape.

The different options are:

  • date (an internet connection is required to get an accurate date)
  • tempo (based on your current clock bpm)
  • script name (will be left blank if no script is running)
  • prefix a user-defined name/tag. ie. norns, shield, sketch, etc…

If a prefix isn’t required, setting it to an empty string will disable it.
You can recreate the standard naming convention by setting all the options to no and
the prefix to an empty string. This will result in ####.wav.

The preview field at the bottom will update automatically as you change options.
If the name is too long to fit on the display, select the preview and use K3 to scroll.


Setting a prefix or simply validating an existing one by pressing ok in the text entry
menu will save all the options into a txt file in dust/data/nice-tapes so that options
are recalled after a reboot.

to do / features ideas

  • Add a way to shorten long script names based on a table lookup:
    my_cool_script_2 would be written out as mcs2 (or any user-defined acronym)
  • Add a prefix length limit? Right now you can use really long prefixes if need be.
    I don’t really want to limit this, but it will overlap some UI elements.


I want to thank all the folks who are involved with the docs, studies, and norns development in general. :heart:


I love this! Thank you!


Fantastic! How are you polling date info?


what a great idea!!

adding script name used for the recording is so clever
never thought of it but seems super helpful


Thank you very much! Very clever mod and a supreme utility.


super useful and neat – thanks !

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20 chars of what a fantastic idea!

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looks to be grabbing the output from the unix date command (see here). not sure if the norns has ntp enabled by default but it should be accurate as long as the system date/time is.

super cool, thank you for making this !

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Super useful! Great Idea, thanks!!!

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Correct, I’m just using the default unix date. I read that RPis don’t have a real-time clock since they are missing a battery module to keep track of time when powered-off. Hence the comment about needing an internet connection to get an accurate date.

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I’ve wanted this feature for a while; thank you!

This was the case previously, but as of the 220306 release the tape-naming logic was updated and should now fit your needs. I imagine that you want to support people who haven’t yet updated their firmware, though, so I’m not sure that there’s much for you to do with that info.

This is true, and also the Pi won’t know your time zone unless you tell it. This can be done as part of the sudo raspi-config GUI.


That’s good knowledge, and it made me realise I made a mistake! I’m swapping the default tape.lua with a modified version included with the mod, except that I didn’t use your latest update. My shield was on an older release, whoops! I basically took a step back and implemented a function that you already added. Sorry about that!
I have now started over from your latest commit and the result is much cleaner :slight_smile: Only 3 lines had to be modified to get the expected result.
I will push an update sometime during the week, but in theory no one should see any difference.
Thanks for flagging!


What a fantastic idea, major kudos for acknowledging an inconvenience that many users share and jumping right in to creating a solution. Thank you. (Written as I am transferring 2gb worth of numerically named tapes)

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Think I bumped into a bug.
On a fresh install the tape directory doesn’t exist; the mod causes creating a new tape to silently fail (ls: cannot access '/home/we/dust/audio/tape/' : No such file or directory).
Without the mod, the tape directory appears to be automagically created.

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Good catch, thank you! I just pushed the update I mentioned above. This should fix it :slight_smile:


fantastic!! something i never thought i needed but now it’s very obvious i do! thank you!


Love the idea … but i’m struggling to name recordings properly. I set up everything, so i have date and script-name added to the file name, but i can’t figure out to rename the 0000, when i’m in the recording menu. Any pointers?

Thank you! The index number is automatically incremented based on the highest existing index found in the tape folder. So if your last file was called 0034.wav and you were to record a new take, it would be called 0035_something_scriptname.wav. This way the files are always ordered chronologically :slight_smile:

If you want to reset the index to 0000 then you could move your recordings outside of the tape folder (or move them to a new directory inside the tape folder, I think that could work too, but I don’t have my norns around to check).
Alternatively, if you needed a specific number then I guess you’d have to manually delete characters, change the number and re-type everything from the norns tape-naming menu.

Let me know if that makes sense or if you’re having other issues.


Ah ok. I think, I understand. I usually rename the index number to something “useful” (eg. mellow pad or synths plonks). I was under the impression, i could just change the index and the information provided via nice-tapes would be added automatically

Got it! I do that as well, by appending something to the prefix. For example one of my recent recording is called 0055_shield_midi_cheat_codes_2.wav. I just added _midi to my usual prefix which is shield. But yeah you can’t change the index from the mod’s menu, I’d like to avoid straying too far from Norns’ default tape naming behaviour :slight_smile:

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